Cameron Norrie hailed “the biggest win of my career” after he became the new British No 1 by reaching the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open. Norrie, 26, beat Diego Schwartzman 6-0 6-2 to reach the final four of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career.
Following his victory, Martina Navratilova asked Norrie if the result represented the biggest win of his career.
“I think so,” he replied. “I mean it was such a big moment for me playing my first Masters 1000 quarter-final, especially against Diego.
“He’s such a great competitor, I thought I was in for an absolute battle. But yeah, I’m so pleased to be through.
“And yes, it’s probably the biggest match and biggest win of my career with all the circumstances and all the pressures. I’m really happy with the way I handled everything.”
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Norrie was certainly at his best again at Indian Wells, dismantling the world No 15 early on to win the first set to love in 31 minutes.
The left-hander was equally as comfortable in the second set, breaking the Argentinian three times to settle a one-sided contest.
South African born Norrie, who has never been past the third round at a Grand Slam event, will now meet either Gregor Dimitrov or Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the final.
His form in California has supplemented a breakthrough year for Norrie, who in July beat Brandon Nakashima in the final of the Los Cabos Open in Mexico to claim his first ATP tour title. That success moved him into the top 30 for the first time in his career.
That was one of five ATP finals reached in 2021, and with 45 tour wins this year, he remarkably overtakes Novak Djokovic and trails just five other players, all of whom are ranked in the world’s top 10.
Norrie himself is now into the top 20 and has ironically displaced Dan Evans as the British No 1, after he was beaten by Schwartzman in the third round.
It means Norrie is the 18th British player to achieve the feat since the ATP rankings were introduced in 1973.